Basil Wilson Duke, CSA: The Right Man in the Right Place

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University Press of Kentucky, Nov 4, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 358 pages
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By the early twentieth century, Basil Wilson Duke had established himself as one of Kentuckyís most popular storytellers, but unlike many other talented raconteurs, Duke was not merely a man of words. In Basil Wilson Duke, CSA, the first full-length biography of this distinguished American, Gary Robert Matthews offers keen insight into the challenges Duke faced before, during, and after the strife of the Civil War. As first lieutenant of General John Hunt Morganís legendary band of Confederate raiders, Duke became Morganís most trusted advisor and an integral contributor to his dramatic tactical successes. Duke was twice wounded in battle and was captured during a raid in Ohio in 1863. Held captive for over a year, Duke rejoined Morganís cavalry in August 1864, only days before Morgan (who was Dukeís brother-in-law) met his demise in Greeneville, Tennessee. Promoted to brigadier general and appointed commander of Morganís men, he helped convince Jefferson Davis of the futility of continued resistance at the close of the war and was assigned to the force escorting Davis in his escape. Dukeís life of action and achievement, however, did not end with the war. He wrote A History of Morganís Cavalry, preserving for posterity the experiences of his fellow warriors, and covered for the Louisville Courier-Journal an 1875 horserace that would eventually be known as the first Kentucky Derby. He built a reputation as a skilled historical writer, and his interests led him to help found the Filson Historical Society in Louisville. Duke also applied his talents to public and political life. He opened a law office and was elected as a Democrat to the Kentucky House, where he served until 1870. Then applying his legal expertise and political connections at the state and national levels, Duke represented the powerful L&N Railroad as the companyís chief lobbyist in the aftermath of the war and during the emotionally charged era of Reconstruction. Gary Robert Matthewsís comprehensive study of the life of Basil Wilson Duke allows a great soldier and statesman to step out of the shadows of the past.
  

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Contents

1 The Right Man in the Right Place
1
2 The Bluegrass
7
3 Missouri
20
4 On the Green River
36
5 Shiloh the End of Innocence
49
6 Partners in Command
65
7 All the Kentuckians Wanted to Ride
86
8 December Battles
104
13 We Looked at Each Other in Amazement
193
14 To Perpetuate His Fame
208
15 My Prospects in That Line Were Not Brilliant
221
16 Salmagundi
234
17 A Distinctively Southern Magazine
248
18 Politics and Panic
262
19 At the Turn of the Century
279
20 The Disappointments of Life Should Seem Trivial
294

9 We Found Pies Hot from the Oven
122
10 The Boys Were Sorry That Duke Was Captured
141
11 A Convivial Evening in Philadelphia
160
12 The Glory and Chivalry Seemed Gone
175
Notes
306
Bibliography
333
Index
347
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Gary Robert Matthews is a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky.

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